As a 60-day window to collect and submit 668,327 valid petition signatures to the Wisconsin Elections Commission nears its close, Burlington area petition organizer Misty R. Polewczynski is confident her efforts, begun in late August, to recall Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will meet their goal.
“As of Thursday we had 623,000,” Polewczynski said Saturday. “We have been receiving around 4 to 6 full bins of mail a day and still have a huge number of (signature collection) events through the 25th. We are confident we will reach our goal.”
Among those adding their signature support to the Barnes and Evers recall petitions on Saturday at a Mount Pleasant pop-up signature collection site at North Green Bay Road (State Hwy. 31) and Sunnyside Avenue was Franksville resident Andrew Peterman.
“If you feel somebody’s not doing something right … this is part of our governmental process at work,” Peterson said as occasional passing motorists honked in a show of support for the three volunteers collecting signatures.
Alleges gross negligence
Polewczynski, who lives in Spring Prairie just west of the Racine County line, filed the required paperwork with the WEC on Aug. 27 to launch her petition drives to recall Evers and Barnes over their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to the outbreak of violence in Kenosha following the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey.
In her Aug. 27 filings, Polewczynski called both Evers and Barnes “unfit for office,” citing their “gross negligence.”
Polewczynski has until Oct. 27 to collect and successfully submit 668,327 valid petition signatures for each of the recall petitions for them to advance to statewide ballot. The threshold for both recall petitions is 25% of the votes cast in the November 2018 gubernatorial election. The four-year terms of office for Evers and Barnes, both Democrats, end in January 2023.
Polewczynski said her group, which has a Facebook page and a website, www.RecallEversNow.com, has a membership of 80,000 Wisconsin residents, at least half of which, she said, are “actively collecting petitions” in support of the recall effort.
Among the Recall Tony Evers volunteers collecting petition signatures in Mount Pleasant on Saturday was Kim Morrison of Racine.
“We’re out here doing our civic duty,” Morrison said. “This is democracy in action.”
Polewczynski said support for the petition drive has come from across the political spectrum, bringing in Republicans, Democrats and independents alike.
“The way so many people with different beliefs have come together is so amazing,” she said.
Gov. candidate to speak Saturday
In advance of the filing deadline, Polewczynski said a “huge gathering” is planned for Saturday at a time and location to be announced. The guest speaker is to be Jonathan Wichmann, who has declared his candidacy for the 2022 Republican gubernatorial nomination.
“Our team is endorsing Jonathan Wichmann for governor,” Polewczynski said. “He is a man who will represent ‘We, The People.’ ”
Polewczynski said members of her group “plan to invite (President) Trump to speak as well” at the Saturday event.
Predictably, reaction to Polewczynski’s recall petition has split along partisan lines.
“Given the Governor’s inability to keep Wisconsinites in Kenosha safe and deliver basic government functions, it’s no wonder that a group of citizens would be motivated to have new leadership in the Governor’s Office as soon as possible and work towards that end,” said Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Andrew Hitt. “We will continue to focus and urge others to focus on efforts on reelecting President Trump, because a Joe Biden presidency would be a disaster that would send our nation into further lawlessness and on the path to a socialist America.”
In a statement frequently quoted by numerous Wisconsin media outlets in the wake of the recall petition launches, officials with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin said “trying to recall a governor with a 57% job approval rating in the midst of a global pandemic and civil unrest is irresponsible and absurd.”